Inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) polymerase (PARPi) have recently entered the clinic for the treatment of homologous recombination (HR)-deficient cancers. Despite the success of this approach, drug resistance is a clinical hurdle, and we poorly understand how cancer cells escape the deadly effects of PARPi without restoring the HR pathway. By combining genetic screens with multi-omics analysis of matched PARPi-sensitive and -resistant Brca2-mutated mouse mammary tumors, we identified loss of PAR glycohydrolase (PARG) as a major resistance mechanism. We also found the presence of PARG-negative clones in a subset of human serous ovarian and triple-negative breast cancers. PARG depletion restores PAR formation and partially rescues PARP1 signaling. Importantly, PARG inactivation exposes vulnerabilities that can be exploited therapeutically.
Keywords: BRCA1; BRCA2; PARG; PARP inhibitor; PARP1; PARylation; drug resistance; homologous recombination; replication fork.
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